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The Mad Clientist

After 5-Year Upward March, Client Satisfaction Plummets

By June 25, 2013April 16th, 2020No Comments

Things were going so well. Client service levels rose for 5 straight years. What happened?

Now, only 31.4% of corporate counsel recommend their primary law firm, down from 35.9% last year and 42.3% the year before. Clients attribute the decrease to the following reasons:

  1. “Secondary law firms now provide substantially better client service than my primary law firm.”
  2. “Primary firms do exactly what is asked—nothing more.”
  3. “Primary law firms are married to their own ways of doing things and won’t change.”
  4. “My law firm used to be much more flexible….”
  5. “I am trying to change my approach to managing the legal department; my primary law firm does not seem as excited as I am in getting the changes done.”

Large clients work with 54 law firms—14 in a substantive manner. Smaller clients work with 8 law firms in a serious manner. The daily competition between 14 (or 8) law firms creates opportunities for secondary law firms to shine through with new ideas and fresh approaches.

Low satisfaction rarely translates into instant firing. Instead we see a slow, steady process of clients trying to improve relationships, inviting new law firms in for work and bringing work in-house. Ultimately, stagnant client service will drive satisfaction levels to the point where a primary firm becomes secondary as the work slowly tails off. 

Your ability to bring a new level of enthusiasm, urgency and innovation positions you to stake your claim to the work as clients move to redefine their approach to managing outside counsel.


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